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Film / Millennium (1989)
aka: Millennium

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In 1989 Bill Smith, an agent of the National Transportation Safety Board, is sent to the scene of an airline accident in Minnesota where a Boeing 747 was bumped by a DC-10, shearing part of the wing off, crashing both aircraft. He and his colleagues find several oddities to the 747 crash - the digital watches are all running backwards, and the flight engineer came running into the cockpit screaming that the passengers he had gone to check on were all burned and dead.

Meanwhile, about a thousand years in the future, mankind is on its last gasp. Pollution is so bad it is not only killing everyone but they can't exist without it, either. Plans were made to use Time Travel to pluck the living but soon-to-die passengers from aircraft, replace them with duplicate but brain-dead bodies and put the saved passengers in storage so they can eventually be sent somewhere far enough in the future (or elsewhere) that the pollution had broken down and the human race can start anew. This is tricky business, though - anything out of place can cause a time paradox which results in massive, damaging earthquake-like tremors in the future they came from.

Unfortunately, someone accidentally left a stunner on the 747. It's up to Louise Baltimore to get the missing stunner back and make sure it doesn't end up in Bill's hands.


This story was originally a short story, and then a book, before being filmed.

This film is not to be confused with the various other works named Millennium.

This film provides examples of:

  • Absolute Cleavage: Louise wears only an oversized mens dress shirt that's low-unbuttoned.
  • Brain in a Jar: Some of the council are exactly that.
  • Crapsack World: The future is dirty and rusty.
  • Cyborg: Many of the people in the future have aspects of this. It's not even really clear if Sherman is a robot or some sort of human cyborg. In the book, it's clear he's a robot.
  • Cool Car: The 1989 Cadillac Allante driven by Louise.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Several characters have their moments.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Louise.
  • Dying Race: Humans of the future.
  • The Film of the Book: Originally a short story by John Varley, then a book written by him, and then a movie made of the book.
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  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Louise on her date.
  • Have We Met Yet?: Louise tries to keep Bill from unknowingly changing the future by meeting, seducing, and sleeping with him. Unfortunately, the next time Bill encounters Louise, it's actually the first time she's ever met him, so she rebuffs his affectionate approach. The fact that during their (to Bill, anyway) second meeting she treats him like a complete stranger confuses Bill just enough to cause the disruption in the time stream Louise was trying to prevent in the first place.
  • Idiot Ball: Both times people from 1989 get hold of stunners they act stupidly. Bill - an NTSB agent who should know better about tinkering with evidence - stuns himself jamming the casing into the wiring, and Dr. Mayer connects up an object which he himself already knows and has said is a weapon, and inadvertently kills himself. In Doctor Mayer's defense, he didn't believe paradoxes could exist as a physicist. An in-universe version of Science Marches On perhaps?
  • Kill the Cutie: Susan, the youngest member of the team, commits a Heroic Sacrifice
  • Mr. Exposition: Sherman explains why Louise has to go back and meet Bill for the first time, and even subtly lampshades his role as he does so.
  • Narrow Annihilation Escape: Dr. Mayer kills himself while assembling the weapon, causing the aforementioned paradox, which sends a "timequake" into the future, threatening to destroy the complex housing the time-gate system. The leader of the time complex sends all of the people through to safety into a farther, more distant future, just before the timequake hits.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Invoked. You can't go back to any time anyone has already time-traveled to, or even viewed from the future. Averted though, when people being pulled off a doomed aircraft from 1963 see their doubles being loaded on.
  • No Antagonist: Dr. Mayer is dangled as this, but he's just a curious (and in the end, stupid) scientist.
  • Our Souls Are Different: The future can reproduce bodies, but not souls. That's why they can duplicate passengers but can't make bodies for themselves.
  • Our Time Travel Is Different: You can only go back to or even watch things from a time period once. Once you've been to or watched events happening at, say, 5:05am-5:10am on a certain day no one can go back to those five minutes... ever. Also, previous paradoxes are incredibly damaging to the present (future) time.
  • Recognition Failure: Bill never recognizes Louise from the original 1963 flight he was on until near the end of the movie.
    • Although how many people would recognise some woman they met once on an airplane for a few minutes 26 years earlier?
      • Especially when she was wearing a dark haired wig back then, and the one he meets later is quite blonde.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: To get the stunner back that was left behind. Unfortunately, it was found before they could get it meaning they had to go back earlier and try to stop Bill from even being there in the first place...
  • Tomboy: Louise is a little shaky on how to walk in high heels and seduce a man.
    Sherman: Louise, be subtle.
    Coventry: (to Sherman) Louise is as subtle as a lead pipe.
  • We Only Have One Chance: At traveling to any specific segment of time.

Alternative Title(s): Millennium